Imam Ḥusayn and Imam Mahdi

Imam Ḥusayn and Imam Mahdi


The cries of help raised by Imam Husain (a.s.) on the day of Ashura didn’t die away in Karbala itself. Indeed, it reverberated with greater intensity with the passage of time. Those who weren’t present in this physical world but were yet to come too had said labbaik on hearing his (a.s.) plea.

There’s a strong connection between the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) and the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). In the traditions narrated by Imam Husain (a.s.) as well as in supplications, we find the mention of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Imam Mahdi (a.s.) too has often spoken about the afflictions that befell Imam Husain (a.s.). In this article we will try to make a brief analysis.

(1) Imam Husain (a.s.) in the eyes of Imam Mahdi (a.s.)

Sa’ad bin Abdullah Qummi states that I inquired from Imam Mahdi (a.s.) the explanation of kaaf haa yaa ayn saad.

He said: “These are the concealed words with which Allah had forewarned His servant J. Zakariyyaa (a.s.) and also reiterated it to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). J Zakariyyaa (a.s.) had requested Allah to teach him the five (special) names and Allah had taught him those names through J. Jibraeel (a.s.). When J Zakariyyaa (a.s.) would take the names of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), Ali (a.s.), Fatima (s.a) and Hasan (a.s.) then the grief within him would subside. But, when he took the name of Husain (a.s.) his sorrow would intensify. One day he implored Allah, ‘Oh Allah, when I take four names I find rest and inner peace but when I take the name of Husain, then sorrow overcomes me and tears start flowing from my eyes. Allah revealed the significance of these words.

kaaf’ means Karbala, ‘Haa’ refers to the massacre and martyrdom of the chaste progeny, ‘yaa’ is for the oppressor Yazeed, ‘ayn’ stands for thirst and ‘saad’ is for the patience of Imam Husain (a.s.).

On hearing this J Zakariyyaa (a.s.) became so anguished that he did not leave his prayer niche for three days. He did not allow anyone to come near him. Even as he wept incessantly, he kept saying,

‘O Allah, I am in grief because calamities will befall on the son of Your best creation. O Allah! Grant me a son who will be a support in my old age, who will be the light of my eyes, who will be my inheritor and my vicegerent. And then you involve me in his misery, just like how You have involved Your beloved messenger Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) in his son’s sorrow.’

Allah granted J. Zakariyyaa (a.s.) a son named Yahya (a.s.) and then involved him in his suffering. Janabe Yahya (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) were born after six months of pregnancy’.” (Kamaluddin, Vol 2, page 420)

(2) Imam Mahdi (a.s.) in the eyes of Imam Husain (a.s.)

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says:

Haaris al-A’war asked Imam Husain (a.s.) the meaning of “I swear by the sun and its heat’ (Surah Shams, verse 1)” He (a.s.) replied “It refers to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.).” Then he asked him about the second verse “I swear by the moon while it follows it”. He said, “It refers to Hazrat Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), who is after the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). Then he asked him (a.s.) about the third verse “I swear by the day when it manifests itself” He (a.s.) said: “It refers to Hazrat Qaem of Aale Muhammad, who will fill the earth with justice and equality”  (Tafseer-e-Furaat Kufi, p. 212)

(3) Imam Mahdi (a.s.) the avenger of the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.)

Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will avenge the brutal and tyrannical killing of Imam Husain (a.s.) and his companions. While explaining this verse of Quran,

“….. and whoever is killed unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority, so he shall not be extravagant in slaying; surely he is aided” (Bani Israel 33)

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says:

“The oppressed ones are Imam Husain (a.s.) and his successors. When our Qaem will reappear he will account for their blood. He will take revenge in such a way that people will say that he has gone to the extreme.” (Tafseer-e-Burhaan, vol 2, p. 419; Behar, vol 10, p. 15)

‘Going to the extreme,’ means to slay the innocent ones. Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) is infallible, so there is no question of him shedding the blood of innocent people. This is the opinion of those who think that the killers of Imam Husain (a.s.) were present only in Karbala. On the contrary, in the eyes of Islam, even they are culpable who agree with the actions of the tyrants, justify it and then go all-out to prove their innocence. In our times too, we find some wretched people who praise Yazeed (l.a.) and those involved in the killing of Imam Husain (a.s.). Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) will take revenge from all of them.

(4) Imam Mahdi (a.s.) – in the words of Imam Husain’s (a.s.)

In Ziyarate Ashura, Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) is referred to as ‘Mansoor (the helped one).’ Esa al-Khashaab inquired from Imam Husain (a.s.), ‘Are you the Master of Affairs?’

He (a.s.) said:

“I am not the Master of Affairs. Rather he is the one who will be hidden from the eyes of the people. His dwelling is far away from the human inhabitants. He’ll be the one to avenge the slaying of his father. His agnomen will be the agnomen of his uncle. The sword will rest on his shoulder for 18 months.” (Kamaluddin, vol. 1, p. 318)

The words “Tareed” and “shareed” are synonyms. They are used for the one who has gone far away from the people because they deserted and abandoned him. The people did not value the blessing of Imam’s (a.s.) presence. On the contrary, they dishonored him. They made the killing of his family lawful, used their tongues and pens to oppose him and did all they could to take his remembrance out of the minds.

‘He’ll avenge the killing of his father.’ This could also mean Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) because he was martyred through poison and it could also mean Imam Husain (a.s.).

Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and the remembrance of Imam Husain (a.s.)

In Ziyarat-e-Naahiyah, Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) has remembered Imam Husain (a.s.) in these words:

‘You were to the Messenger (s.a.w.a.) a son, an authority on the Noble Quran and its saviour. You were the pillar and supporter of the nation. You were diligent in obeying your Lord, a protector of the covenant and the oath, kept away from the paths of the sinners; were excessive in your bowing and prostrations. You had turned your face from the enticements of the world like the one who is departing from it, looking upon it with fear. (Behaar-ul-Anwaar, vol. 101, p. 239)

This is how Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) has articulated ten qualities and specialties of his illustrious grandfather. The truth is that Imam Husain (a.s.) and Imam Mahdi (a.s.) share a special bond. They both share the same objective. Imam Husain (a.s.) desired to safeguard the religion while Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.) will enforce the religion in the entire world.

Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and the Day of Ashura

Just as the title of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is exclusively for Imam Ali (a.s.) similarly the title of Qaem is only for Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Abu Hamza Thumali asked Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.): “Are you not the Qaem? And why only Wali-e-Asr is called as the Qaem?” He (a.s.) replied:

“When my grandfather Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred the angels wailed loudly and they pleaded in front of Allah — ‘O Allah, will you let go the ones who have massacred the best of Your creation – the one chosen by You and the son of Your chosen one?” Allah revealed to the angels:

“O My angels, be patient! I swear by My Honour and Might, verily I will take revenge from these people even if it may be after a few days. Thereafter Allah removed the veil from the eyes of the angels and they saw the Imams from the progeny of Imam Husain (a.s.). Seeing this the angels became happy and they saw that among those Imams there was one who was in the state of qiyam (standing) and Allah said, ‘Through this Qaem I will take revenge.’ (Dalaail-ul-Imaamah, Muhammad Ibn Jurair al-Tabari (he is different from the famous Sunni historian), p. 239)

Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and his yearning to help Imam Husain (a.s.)

To be alongside Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) and be fortunate enough to attain martyrdom is the greatest achievement and honour. It is something which we mention repeatedly in Ziyarat-e-Waaresah,

‘O how we wish we would have been with you and attain this ultimate success.’

In Ziyarat-e-Naahiyah, Imam Zamana (a.s.) has expressed this great desire in the following words:

“O my oppressed father! I came in this world after you and by the decree of Allah I couldn’t help you. Therefore, I will lament morning and evening and instead of tears I will shed blood.”

This gives us an idea that in the eyes of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.), it is an honour and privilege to help Imam Husain (a.s.). The mission of Imam Husain (a.s.) will be completed by Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and the religion for which the Chief of Martyrs (a.s.) sacrificed his life will be put into practice in the entire world.

The Day of Ashura and the Day of Reappearance

There’s no particular day fixed for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Some traditions, however, do speak of certain days on which there’s a possibility of Imam (a.s.) reappearing. It means one can hope and expect the reappearance to happen on these days.

Some reports mention Friday. Some speak of Ashura and some also talk about Saturday.

These traditions can be reconciled broadly as – Ashura and Friday could be one day on which reappearance may take place while Saturday could be the day of announcement. So, in this way the day of martyrdom and reappearance will be Friday. Saturday will be the day of balancing the things. Thus the day of martyrdom will be the day when the religion will be stabilized and operational in the whole world. The day of martyrdom will be the day on which the powers of falsehood will be annihilated.

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

On 23rd day of the holy month of Ramazan there will be a voice in the sky calling out the name of Hazrat Qaem (a.s.) and the day of Ashura will be the day when he will rise – the day on which Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred.  (Al-Ghaibah of Shaikh al-Tusi (r.a.), p. 474)

It appears the decision on the reappearance of Hazrat Wali-e-Asr (a.s.) will be taken in Shab-e-Qadr. He will be informed about his reappearance and the day of Ashura will be on which he will reappear and commence his uprising.

Imam Mahdi’s (a.s.) first speech

In his first speech after reappearance, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will introduce himself in such a way that the deep connect between his reappearance and the martyrdom will be manifested. When Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will reappear he will introduce himself in the following way by standing between Hajar-e-Aswad and Maqam-e-Ibrahim:

‘O people of the world! Be warned, I am the Qaem’

‘O people of the world! Know that I am the sword with which revenge will be taken.’

‘O people of the world! Know that my Husain was martyred thirsty.’

‘O people of the world! Know that my Husain was left uncovered without a shroud on the dusty plains.’

‘O people of the world! My grandfather Husain’s body was trampled (by horses) after he was massacred  (Intezaar, first year, second edition, p. 178)

Imam Mahdi (a.s.) will first declare that he is the Qaem. Then he will talk about taking revenge through his sword and then speak about the tribulations that befell upon Imam Husain (a.s.).  Hazrat (a.s.) will start his oration with the majlis of Imam Husain (a.s.) This will make it clear to one and all the importance of narrating the tribulations and sufferings of Imam Husain (a.s.). It also becomes clear that the objective of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) martyrdom will only be realized following the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Besides, it is evident that those who draw attention to the afflictions that were faced by the Chief of Martyrs (a.s.), are actually following the path and tradition of Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.). Thus those who put obstacles in the way (of Azadari) can now judge their own fate.

Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and the avenging of the killing of Imam Husain (a.s.)

Imam Husain (a.s.) told Imam Zainul Aabedeen (a.s.):

By Allah! My blood will keep boiling until Allah makes Mahdi apparent. He will avenge my killing and he will slay seventy thousand transgressors and disbelievers. (Al-Manaaqib by Ibn Shahr Aashoob, vol. 4, p. 85; Behaar ul Anwaar, vol. 45, page 299)

The narrator asked Imam Reza (a.s.): What do you have to say about this tradition wherein Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) says:

‘When our Qaem will rise he will massacre the descendants of the killers of Imam Husain (a.s.) for the crime of their fathers!’

Imam Reza (a.s.) said,

‘Yes it is true.’

Then the narrator asked, ’What is the essence of this verse of Quran then:

‘No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another,’ (Surah Anaam 164)

Imam Reza(a.s.) replied:

“What Allah has said is true but these people were happy and proud over what their ancestors had done. If a person concurs with the one who performs the action then he too becomes a party in it. If someone is killed in the east and the people of west are in accord with it then in the eyes of Allah they too are partners in crime along with the killers. For that Qaem will execute the sons of the killers of Imam Husain (a.s.) on the premises that they were in pleased and satisfied with their predecessors.” (Elal al-Sharae’, vol. 1, page 219; Oyoon Akhbaar ar-Raza (a.s.), vol. 1, p. 273; Behar ul Anwaar, vol. 52, p. 313)

Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and the Completion of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) Journey

Imam Husain (a.s.) had travelled from Makkah to Kufa because he wanted to live in Kufa. But, the tyrants of the time didn’t allow him to complete his journey. They did not let him enter Kufa and instead martyred him in Karbala. Imam Mahdi (a.s.), after reappearing, will designate Kufa as his capital. Imam Mohammad Baqir (a.s.) says:

Mahdi will reappear and then travel to Kufa, which will be his home. (Behaar ul Anwaar, vol. 25, p. 225)

In another tradition he says:

When our Qaem will reappear he will go to Kufa. At that time every believer will live in Kufa or at least will definitely go there. (Behaar ul Anwaar, vol. 52, p. 385)

These traditions clearly state that Kufa will be Imam Mahdi’s (a.s.) seat of power; he will stay and rule over the entire world from there.

The Helpers of Imam Husain (a.s.) and Imam Mahdi (a.s.)

Along with believers, angels from the skies too will join Imam Mahdi’s (a.s.) troops. Rayyan ibn Shabeeb narrates from Imam Raza (a.s.):

“Four thousand angels had descended from the heavens to help and support Imam Husain (a.s.). But when they reached Karbala, Imam Husain (a.s.) was already martyred. Since then, those angels have covered themselves in dust and are lamenting besides the sacred grave of Imam Husain (a.s.). They will remain in this condition till the reappearance of Qaem following which they will be among the helpers and their slogan will be, ‘Revenge for the unjust killing of Imam Husain (a.s.)’  (al-Amaali of Shaikh Sadooq (a.r.), Speech No. 27, Behaar ul Anwaar, vol. 44, p. 285)

The aspiration of helping Imam Husain (a.s.) can be met by helping Imam Mahdi (a.s.). Therefore, every person while reciting Ziyarat-e-Waaresah wishes that he too should have been present in the battle of Karbala, can attain this great of blessing by helping Imam e Zamana (a.s.) – even while Imam (a.s.) is in occultation. He can do that by spreading the name of Imam e Zamana (a.s.), by increasing the love of Imam e Zamana (a.s.) in the hearts of the people, by making them remember him, by erasing the doubts concerning him and preparing them for his reappearance and waiting for his reappearance devotedly. These are the ways of helping Imam (a.s.) and in whatever way it is possible one should step forward and realize the ambition of helping Imam Husain (a.s.).

The Birthday of Imam Husain (a.s.) and Remembrance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.)

The third of Shabaan is the birthday of Chief of Martyrs – Imam Husain (a.s.). It is a day of joy for the Ahle Bait (a.s.), their Shias and their friends. For Allah, this is a great day. On this very distinguished day, Allah had gifted His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) a tradition luminously etched on a green slate, which is called as Hadith-e-Lauh. This tradition elucidates the messengership, mastership and leadership of the Fourteen Infallibles (a.s.). There’s a special mention of Imam Mahdi (a.s.). The past editions of Al Muntazar have discussed this tradition extensively and that is why we will refrain from discussing it further in this issue.

There are exclusive supplications and actions prescribed for this day. In these supplications there is a special mentioning of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) along with Imam Husain (a.s.).

‘O Allah I beseech You for the sake of the son who was born on this day. I raise my hands in Your presence, on whose birthday the news of his martyrdom was given; on whose martyrdom, the earth, the sky and everything that lived in it wept. And in return of the martyrdom, Imamate was bestowed in his lineage. The dust of his burial place has healing powers. In whose company lays success and good fortune and in his lineage is the Qaem for whom occultation has been decreed.” (Misbah al-Mutahjjid, p. 758; Mafateehul Jinaan, Amaal of 3rd Shabaan)

The day of Imam Mahdi’s (a.s.) birth and the remembrance of Imam Husain (a.s.)

The night of 15th Shabaan is the greatest and most blessed after Shab-e-Qadr. On one night the silent Quran was revealed and on the other the speaking Quran was born. One is the night of ‘Qadr’ which is better than thousand months and the other night is a practical interpretation of Shab-e-Qadr. It is better to spend this night, too, in worship. The best action in this highly significant night is the Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) and the one who wants to shake hands with 1,24,000 Prophets then he should recite the Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.).

As if, all the Prophets have come to congratulate Imam Husain (a.s.) on the birth of his dearest grandson Imam Mahdi (a.s.) this night. To praise him for the one who will fulfill the purpose for which he sacrificed himself and spread his religion in the entire world.

Shab-e-Qadr and the remembrance of Imam Husain (a.s.)

Shab-e-Qadr is the most significant of all nights. This night is specifically related to Imam Mahdi (a.s.) because in this night the angels appear in the pious presence of Imam (a.s.) with the affairs of the entire year. The most commendable of actions for this night is Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.). The one who recites it will have the honour of shaking hands with the souls of 124,000 Prophets (a.s.).

The day of birth of Imam Mahdi (a.s.), too, is of similar significance. The visitor will have the honour of shaking hands with 124,000 Prophets. Likewise, the one who does Ziyarat on Shab-e-Qadr will have the same privilege. Perhaps, the reason for this is that Imam Mahdi (a.s.) was born on the night of 15th Shaban and that he may reappear in Shab-e-Qadr. One night is holy on the basis of his birth and the other is from the perspective of reappearance. Both nights are categorically connected with Imam Zamana (a.s.) and on both these nights there is Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.).

The supplication of Nudbah and the remembrance of Imam Husain (a.s.)

Dua-e-Nudbah is one of the many supplications exclusively related to Imam Zamana (a.s.). Those who carry the desire of assisting Imam Mahdi (a.s.) recite this dua every Friday. From the depths of their hearts, they remember Imam (a.s.) and shed tears on being separated from him. They keep their hearts fresh with the remembrance of Imam (a.s.). From the point of legitimacy and on the basis of the actions of the Ulama, this is an absolutely authentic supplication. Along with Imam Zamana (a.s.) this dua also refers to Imam Husain (a.s.).

Pay attention to the following words from this dua:

“Where is Hasan and where is Husain? Where are the sons of Husain? The virtuous – one after the other?The truthful – one after the other.’’

Then Imam Husain (a.s.) is especially remembered in this manner:

“Where is the avenger of the blood of the innocent martyrs of Karbala?”

Thus, along with Imam Zamana (a.s.) the memory of Imam Husain (a.s.) too is revived every Friday.

Ziyarate Ashura and Imam Mahdi (a.s.)

One of the most authentic Ziyarats is Ziyarat-e-Ashura. The Infallible Imams (a.s.) and in particular Imam Zamana (a.s.) have greatly emphasized that this ziayarat should be recited every day. Traditions speak of enormous rewards for the one who recites it. In this Ziyarat too Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is discussed.

‘O Allah! You give me the opportunity and the good fortune to be along with the victorious Imam from the descendants of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) so that I can seek avenge for him.”

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.), under the verse… “and if anyone is slain unjustly,” (Bani Israel 33) says:

“Imam Mahdi is the “Mansoor” (the helped one) just like how the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) is referred to as Ahmad and Muhammad and Janabe Eisa (a.s.) is called Maseeh.”

This also means that Mansoor is one of the names of Imam Mahdi (a.s.).

‘‘O Allah! You give me the nobility and the opportunity to be alongside Imam Mahdi (a.s.) when he is avenging the blood of Imam Husain (a.s.) while he is visible and speaking.”

In this sentence is the prayer for the early reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) along with the plea for assisting him rightfully and avenging the slaying of Imam Husain (a.s.).

The Day of Ashura and the Remembrance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.)

Just as the way Imam Mahdi (a.s.) has been mentioned in Ziyarat-e-Ashura, similarly amongst the recommended acts on the day of Ashura is to offer each other condolences on the severe tribulations braved by Imam Husain (a.s.) in the following manner:

“May Allah grant us the highest rewards due to colossal calamity that befell Imam Husain (a.s.). May He include us and you amongst those who take revenge under the Mastership of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) who is from the progeny of Imam Husain (a.s.).”

Take note, that on this day of severe afflictions, Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is mentioned along with Imam Husain (a.s.).

Imam Husain (a.s.) and Raj’at (the return)

In the light of Islamic teachings, just as the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) is a certainty, similarly Raj’at too is a certainty. Raj’at means that after the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) those who have left this world will be brought back to life. Only those who don’t believe in the Day of Judgment will consider Raj’at to be impossible.

Those who believe that the dead will be re-enlivened, are of the view that when the Day of Judgment nears it will not be surprising if some people are brought back to life following the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (a.s.) and his reign, as it is in accordance with the Sunnah of Allah.

Amongst those who will return is Imam Husain (a.s.). According to a tradition from Imam Sadiq (a.s.), the first person for whom the Earth will split open to remerge is Imam Husain Ibn Ali (a.s.).

(Behaar ul Anwaar, vol. 53, page 39; Tafseer e Burhaan, vol. 2, p. 408)

In another tradition Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

“The first amongst those who will return is Imam Husain (a.s.) and his faithful companions. At the same time Yazeed and his forces too will return and they all will be killed.”

After this Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.) recited the following ayat:

“Then We will make you prevail again and will help you with wealth and children and increase your numbers.” (Bani Israel: 6)

(Behaar ul Anwaar, vol 53, p. 76; Noorus Saqalain vol 3, p. 140)

In a tradition from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) it is mentioned:

“On the eve of Ashura, Imam Husain (a.s.) told his companions: “… heaven awaits you, after what will happen with us. Following that we will rest for as long as Allah wishes. Then Allah will bring us back to life, when our Qaem will reappear. Then revenge will be taken from the oppressors. Then you and I will see them chained and tied with ropes and will witness them facing the severest of punishment.” (Kefaayah al-Muhtadi, pp. 105-106)

Have you realized how strong is the bond between Imam Husain (a.s.) and Imam Mahdi (a.s.)?  They are mentioned together at all places. They gave tidings about each other and will fulfill each other aims.

O Allah! Include us all amongst the sincere servants of Imam Wali-e-Asr (a.s.) and raise us with the faithful companions. O Lord of Husain (a.s.)! For the sake of Husain (a.s.), for the tranquility of the heart of Husain (a.s.), hasten the reappearance of Hujjat (a.s.)! Aameen!